Pep Guardiola returns to his old idea

Man City in first home game of a season against Huddersfield started with 3 centrebacks and 2 forwards in Gabriel Jesus, Aguero. The only difference with the first games of last season was that Kyle Walker didn’t start and John Stones defensively was responsible for the flank. Overall it was mix of ideas, tactics that Man City used first month of last season before Benjamin Mendy injury. French full back was responsible for providing width on left flank of attack instead of winger like Sane last season. In possession team played 3-5-2 with Fernandinho as deepest midfielder, John Stones moved higher up a pitch to overload a flank and create isolation situations for  Mendy. David Silva played in right half space near Bernardo and made short passes with him near box to create chances. Gundogan played more inside recycle ball and leaving Mendy on flank 1v1 against opposition full back from where he made 12 crosses which were more than any other player on pitch. French full back got one assist from cross to Aguero in match and played vital role in other two team goals, second team goal of Gabriel Jesus was result of Mendy run and third team goal of Aguero was result of his cross plus goalkeeper mistake who couldn’t hold the ball. If this City continues to play this way for width in attack responsible Mendy club wingers will struggle for playing time benching of Sane, Mahrez, Sterling for this match is obvious example. Forwards in this system less often drop to midfield and occupy opposition center backs inside boxes. Gabriel Jesus played more central in this system while Aguero played closer to Bernardo, David Silva overloaded flank and interchanged passes with them. From left flank of attack Mendy is totally responsible for chance creation and his crosses is main way of team trying to create chances. In right flank of attack main way to create chances is short passes and dribbling of Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Aguero with occasional use of crosses. Convincing 6-1 win showed effectiveness of this tactics but Huddersfield decision to press home team all over pitch before first goal was big contributing factor to their demise. Of course 6 goals and 32 shots which is most in Guardiola era are encouraging but given level of opposition it is tough to predict if this tactics bring success to Man City  against tougher opposition. This tactics may be used to compensate for absence of Kevin De Bruyne because of knee injury, Gundogan inability to provide same creativity as Belgian and keep fast players like Sane, Mahrez, Sterling for later parts of the game when opposition is tired. Yesterday we were able see glimpses how City will attack teams that try sit deep and compensate for loss of De Bruyne but of course in next couple months Pep Guardiola will try new ways to perfect his team game in bid to defend title.

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